Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I Grind Harder Than You

I've spent lots of time over the years pushing myself. 

that ridiculous "inbox zero" goal...

the perceived need to be the first one in the office and the last to leave...

the email sessions over the weekend to stay on top of every single thing in the universe...

and worst of all, the guilt that comes from actually giving myself some down time.

What is Wrong With Me
Maybe it comes with age...er...not being an up and comer anymore? Maybe it's a new lens that we are blessed with when we cross the halfway mark (yes, I'm over 50). Or, maybe it's just that I'm thinking about my whole self, and how taking care of my whole self actually makes me a better member of my organization?

How is this post any different than the ones that talk about work / life balance and taking care of yourself?

Well, it's not about everyone else like those other posts. This one is about me.

Slowly Figuring It Out
Over the last year or so, I've finally started to distance myself from "work guilt" and have completely moved away from the odd concept of "work / life balance."

First, the guilt. 

Understanding that my entire life is not defined by the work I do (although I am extremely proud of what we're doing at Kinetix); and, that the success we are having can not be the only thing that represents who I am.

My family, my faith, my friends and my health are also huge parts of who I am. Recognizing that those pieces also deserve my "time" has been an important and positive shift for me.

Now, that balance fallacy.

For a long time I've struggled to let go of trying to balance my work life and personal life. Not necessarily in the way you might think though. The realization that has finally come is to fully embrace that notion that my life includes both my work and personal lives throughout every day.

I may need to spend a night (or several) working on a proposal, catching up on work tasks or prepping for a busy day. The weekend might provide the only time I can focus on important follow up items.

I also may need to spend part of a day addressing other pressing issues in my life that are not work related...but they are "me" related.


My whole self. 

It comes down to balancing my whole life, not trying to compartmentalize the many facets of who I am into nice little buckets and time slots on my calendar.

Life balance.

How About You
Have you gotten caught up in the mindset of hyper-productivity is the only true productivity? I was there for many years. Now, I embrace all of the parts of my life and I feel stronger and more effective than ever. I wish it hadn't taken so long to get here.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

My Secret Ingredients to Interviewing

Over the years I've interviewed for a variety of jobs. In the early part of my career I was...well...not even close to qualified for some of them. But that didn't stop me from getting hired.

What was the secret combination of magical spells I put on the hiring managers to give me a shot?

Three Secrets
1. Preparation

This first step may sound obvious, but sadly, I've seen this noticeably absent over and over again. Candidates come to interviews (even at middle and senior management levels) ill-prepared to grill me and my colleagues about the opportunity.

Conversely, I have always wanted to be the most prepared person in the interview process...particularly when I was the candidate. That's right...I wanted to be far more prepared than those interviewing me.

Exhaustive reviews of company websites, Linkedin profiles, google searches of leaders, and detailed questions based on each person who would be interviewing me were mandatory. 

2. Confidence

Being timid is lame. Being soft is lame. Being meek inspires absolutely zero confidence. Sound hokey? I don't care. 

It's true. I'm never going to hire someone to join my company if they are not confident in their initial presentation to me. 

After all, I'm only asking them to talk about them self. If they can not do that, how are they going to thrive in any corporate culture? 

3. Energy

How does one exude confidence? With lots of energy, that's how. Work is more demanding than ever. The ability to keep up with the crazy pace we're all expected to maintain requires lots of energy. If that doesn't show in the interview, how in the world will a hiring leader have any confidence that it will mysteriously show up once you start the job?

How About You
What are your secrets to successful interviews? What would you add to my list? 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


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Monday, May 20, 2019

The Shortest Straw

Drawing the Shortest Straw: Chosen to do a task that nobody wants to do (read here --> leading Human Resources)

They Have No Idea
The unknown pressure of leading HR.

The toughest, most confrontational roles.

The most intense issues to address...investigations, harassment, discrimination.

Terminating others. It's not just getting rid of a 'problem'...you just stopped someone from earning money to provide for their family.

The pressure to 'fill the jobs' when we know the leaders bear just as much responsibility to create cultures where their team members feel valued and respected.

The demands to develop an effective team of leaders.

The responsibility to build a positive culture across the entire organization.

The necessity to not only understand HR, but to also fully understand the business, revenue streams, and expense management challenges.

The need to have a comprehensive and competitive compensation program.

The expectation that the organization will remain union-free.

Oh, yes, and make sure all of the parties are fun.



How About You
Did we pull the shortest leadership straw? 

Hell, no. 

We drew this straw because the others can not handle what we can handle.

Take pride in being a leader in HR. Take pride in being a leader in your organization.

Take pride every time you hear "I could never do your job." They're absolutely right. They never could.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Gotta Go

I've recently had the privilege to speak at several #DisruptHR events in Atlanta and Tampa. My talk focused on the potential for human resources leaders...and candidly, all leaders...to take risks, live their values, and lead with conviction.

That's what is most important, right?

HR Stuff Matters, But...
It's not that updating policy manuals, going to the Forms Committee meeting, and ensuring open enrollment goes smoothly aren't important. But, these things don't drive business results.

Living your values, and leading with conviction do.

When was the last time you led with your personal values first...and corporate double-talk last?

Take the Step
One of the things I found so encouraging during those DisruptHR events was the energy the attendees had to make changes. They are ready to move forward into new territory in their organizations. 

They are ready to go for it.

How About You
Are you ready to join them? What is on your list that seems impossible to execute, but with some support (from me!) and some courage (from you!) it can become a reality?

You gotta go for it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Hear the Silence So Loud

I'm taking a different look at leadership today...in a very personal way. I am grateful to have such a supportive community to share my perspectives. Thank you friends.

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I am a proud member of Hyde Park United Methodist Church (an open, loving community of faith that welcomes every person) and lifelong member of the larger United Methodist Church (UMC.) My father spent his career as a Pastor in the UMC serving high profile large churches that made an impact in their communities. He was deeply committed to his faith, and I am forever grateful that the passion he and my Mother shared for Jesus was instilled in my sister and me.

Earlier this year, as many of you are aware, the larger UMC held a special session of General Conference to decide if we as a denomination were going to be an inclusive faith community or not. 

Specifically, to decide whether or not we were going to fully embrace our LGBTQ brothers and sisters as full and equal members of our denomination. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, the vote to follow Jesus’ message of love and inclusion failed.

Friends, I am struggling with this outcome. I am struggling more than I ever have as a United Methodist.

Struggling almost sounds too meek…too soft to fully explain how embarrassed I am about our larger church. Consider the message to the outside world…we proclaim to have open hearts, minds and doors, and continue to push this message across multiple platforms. 

Yet, we’ve in effect slammed those same hearts, minds and doors shut in the face of people who simply want to worship God just like we do.

How is this possible in 2019?
I recognize that not everyone shares my beliefs; however, I cannot reconcile in my mind that people can proclaim to have the power to make decisions about ordination, love and inclusion as if they were equal to God. 

People do not have the authority to make such decisions, only our God can do that. Do these men and women believe they actually speak for God?

Such hubris!
"The inaction from General Conference…
...the silence… has become the loudest noise 
in the history of our denomination."

As I continue to struggle with the shame I feel that this vote has brought upon the larger UMC, I have considered several options…the most important of which is to remain a United Methodist and fight for the justice that I know one day will come.

I want to be part of the solution.
I want to be a voice that refuses to be silent.
I want to be a part of our UMC family when ALL people will know God’s love.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Expected Perfection

How much latitude do you have in your job to make mistakes? Seriously, do you feel nervous or anxious about it (beyond the normal frustration of overlooking something or making a small error)? 

Are you supposed to be superhuman at work and never make a mistake?

Fail Quickly! Ha!
Okay...let's just stop right here for a minute. Quick show of hands, how many of you get excited about failing really quickly with your new ideas in front of your leaders and employees?

Anyone? Hello?

Right. Neither do I.

Sure, I get the whole "go for it approach." I've spent years trying new things. 

However, I've been able to lead that way because I worked in this organization and now work here and both places afforded me lots of flexibility to be creative, succeed, and yes, sometimes fail without repercussions. 

It's that last part - without repercussions - that often stands in the way of failing quickly as a good thing.

Never Fail
When the world thinks you're supposed to be perfect...every time...how do you survive? 

How do you dare to push and twist and turn and risk and gamble on new ideas to stay competitive and relevant if you're going to be punished if you fail?

Three steps is what it takes.
1. Use language that aligns to your business, not human resources. Demonstrate why your idea adds value to the business, not some lame HR jargon filled spiel.

2. Know what you're talking about. Don't throw around terms and strategies you don't fully understand. Be confident.

3. Act with conviction and do it. Don't be timid or scared.  Behave as if the other skeptics in the room are out of touch, not you. Take the risk. Don't worry if you're alone. That's how this works.

How About You
Don't you think it's time you pushed that idea forward that you've had rolling around in your head for so long? I do too. Get your plan together and go for it. If you want a sounding board, call me at 727.809.4425 and we'll talk through it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Faith, Values and HR

Wait, what?

I know what you are thinking. We can not talk about our faith in the workplace! That's crazy talk! We are going to get complaints, the employees will be in an uproar, and we might even get sued!

Um, let's just slow down here for a minute.

Leave Your Personal Life at the Door
Have you ever heard this phrase? Have you ever said it to an employee? When was the last time you walked into work and shut off every single part of your life outside of work?

I know the answer. Never, that's when.

Regardless of your faith perspective (if you have one) this seems like one of the most absurd (and candidly embarrassing) management messages to send..."leave your personal life at the door."

Our lives are not broken into convenient little pieces.
There is no work/life balance.
There is only life balance, and our faith is
a big part of that journey.

Live the Values
If we pause for a moment to consider what most of our corporate values say (and let's be honest, most are very similar) they focus on treating people well, doing good work, living with integrity, etc.

Hmmm, those sound curiously similar to the core tenets of most world religions. 

So, as we ask our employees, our leaders, and ourselves to 'live the values' of our organizations in everything we do; are we also asking everyone to shut off their faith that implores us to 'live that faith in all we do' at the same time?

I'm no longer buying that premise. How does one pray each day, participate in the life of their faith community, and then walk into work and turn their back on all of that because "it's just business?"

That simply does not make any sense.



How About You
Will I now be preaching the gospel during team meetings? Of course not. 

But will I pretend that I don't have faith, or act as if I'm such a "good man of business" that faith and values don't really matter? Absolutely not.

What is your take? I know this is a complicated and important issue.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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